Judaism is a religion with an excess of 13 million believers located mainly within the United States and Israel. Of all the religions practiced today, Judaism is one of the oldest. The roots of Judaism can be traced back over 3500 years to the Middle East with a lineage that descends from Abraham as a patriarch. With Abraham as a common ancestor, Judaism is considered one of the Abrahamic faiths alongside Christianity and Islam. The historical events within the Bible of Judaism’s past, all the way back to Abraham, have molded the beliefs and traditions practiced by Jewish adherents today.
Judaism is more than just a religion; it is a culture and can even be considered an ethnicity. The faith, beliefs, traditions, and even holidays recognized by the Jewish people all have a strong foundation in reconnecting with history and the ancestors of the past. Isaac Kalimi writes in Jewish Bible Theology: Perspectives and Case Studies, that The Bible is widely recognized as central to Judaism. It is to a book, the Book, that we owe our survival” (Kalimi 13). In order to even begin to understand Judaism, one must explore the biblical history of the religion. The natural starting point for this exploration would need to begin with Abraham.
Abraham is deemed the founder and one of three patriarchs of the Jewish faith. In Fundamental Theology, by Heinrich Fries, a detailed description of Abraham’s journey and faith is given. A summary of Fries explanation is that Abraham’s name was originally Abram. He was considered a “nomadic chief” from Mesopotamia. God spoke to Abraham and told him to leave his home and country. This was one of many tests Abraham faced. In the words of the Bible, Abraham was t...
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...istory/faith-history of Israel” occurred (Fries 66). God appeared to Moses in the burning bush, and sent him to save the Israelites from their suffering. God plagued the Egyptians with a series of ten plagues of increasing severity. The Israelites were then led to the Red Sea where Moses, by God’s grace, parted the waters allowing them to cross on dry land. The Egyptian army was drowned behind them. The Israelites had escaped.
A tradition practiced today comes from the three patriarchs of Judaism. Followers are supposed to pray three times a day with each patriarch being giving a particular time. Blech states, “Jews to this day recite the morning prayer of Abraham, the afternoon prayer of Isaac, and the night time service of Jacob” (Blech 291). This tradition reaffirms the importance of biblical history in the everyday life of today’s Jewish adherents.
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